#91  
Old 01-19-2022, 02:04 PM
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Cgkdisc Cgkdisc is offline
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Originally Posted by thecandydan View Post
Setting aside Top Golf and golf retail stores, did that happen for golf courses? Was there ever a franchise concept for golf courses? I know there are famous designers (i.e. we have a Jack Nicklaus designed course around here) but I'd never heard of a golf course "chain." Just curious.
A franchise didn't have to evolve in ball golf because, early on, many of the courses were built as a pay-for-play operations or as part of a country club membership that provided a variety of alternate activities including restaurants and pubs. Because many of those courses were successful, future developers had a model to work from. Note that miniature golf also became popular and financially successful before franchises like Putt-Putt got in the game.

BTW, I'm not saying that a disc golf course franchise is necessary before we'll know some course operations are financially successful, just that if/when it does happen, there's a good chance that model has been tested and shown to be profitable before an entrepreneur tries to sell franchises or for that matter, just builds a second course location in the area. DD is one of the few companies I'm aware of that has opened multiple brick & mortar retail locations, not so much a franchise but they've now shown their retail model can work in more than one location.
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  #92  
Old 01-19-2022, 02:19 PM
dmoore1998 dmoore1998 is offline
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Originally Posted by johnrhouck View Post
There are many courses that make way more than $20,000 in greens fees alone. Some make $10,000 in single month. Depends on the location, the designer, the quality of design, and maintenance.

If you don’t have a pro shop or restaurant, you can certainly do vending machines (yes, there is a disc vending machine). You could vend some healthy snack items, water, soft drinks, etc.

200 annual memberships at only $100 a year for a world class course gets you to $20,000 before anyone else even comes in the door.
Yes but how many of those courses making way more than $20,000 in greens fees resemble the setup of the hypothetical discussed?

If you're going to make money off a course, you probably DO need a world class course, or you need a course in a place that is a disc golf course desert in that the courses don't exist.

Seems like it would be rather tough to turn a profit from the description of the hypothetical course mentioned if it weren't the only place to play. That hypothetical course was 20 acres, with $0 devoted to design/development, and no money for any other amenities. To me, that sounds similar to a pitch/putt at a local park than it does a world class disc golf course.
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  #93  
Old 01-19-2022, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by biscoe View Post
Nah... the signal that they can be profitable is that they exist at all over a prolonged period of time in more than a minimal sense. Love of disc golf only gets you so far. Doesn't Enman own more than one in Maine? That would fit your "franchise" criteria as well.
I'm talking about a standalone operation with 18 short holes, our equivalent of miniature golf courses with at most food vending machines. I believe one key to success is a setup that also attracts non-disc golfers who can successfully throw Frisbees right away, with potentially a few ace runs, in the same way grandma or a 7-yr old can pick up a golf putter and play miniature golf on vacation having never done so before.

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Old 01-19-2022, 02:27 PM
dmoore1998 dmoore1998 is offline
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Originally Posted by Cgkdisc View Post
I'm talking about a standalone operation with 18 short holes, our equivalent of miniature golf courses with at most food vending machines. I believe one key to success is a setup that also attracts non-disc golfers who can successfully throw Frisbees right away, with potentially a few ace runs, in the same way grandma or a 7-yr old can pick up a golf putter and play miniature golf on vacation having never done so before.
I don't know. The beauty of a franchise model for something like Putt-Putt is that you can hold your model out and say "look, anyone can set this thing up anywhere" (and specifically "find a high traffic area and set up shop"). It doesn't rely on natural surroundings. It doesn't have a large footprint. You're paying the franchise fee for advertising, and for their expertise in advising you how to run your business.

The ball golf model of "course designer" seems more likely...if only because you need the expertise of scouting locations. Maybe the "franchise" thing works locally...you run 3 P2P courses in a state. Hard to imagine it working on a national scale like Putt-Putt though.

I actually think it has to appeal more to the golf course model than mini golf. There's no reason to take your 7 year old to a pay-place for disc golf when you can take them for free to the local park to do the same activity. If free versions of the same thing are already readily available...you have to appeal to a niche in some way...probably the higher end player (i.e. the country club model compared to the municipal golf course).

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  #95  
Old 01-19-2022, 03:46 PM
BillFleming BillFleming is offline
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Putt-Putt is a 'plug and play' type of thing. Find a local mall or a road with lots of traffic and plop a mini golf course into a spot. Boom...people show up.

Disc Golf on the other hand needs a good amount of space and proper design elements (trees, etc.) to make it work. It's not a "drop a course anywhere and it's good" type of thing.

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Old 01-19-2022, 05:33 PM
ballgolfconvert ballgolfconvert is offline
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Originally Posted by JC17393 View Post
Leagues and tournaments, at least for a course that intends to generate enough revenue to stay in operation, are very small potatoes. If we're shutting down the course to give exclusive use to a tournament, we're effectively capping our greens fees (say at 72 players), when on a nice weekend day in the summer, we typically will see more than 72 paying customers (not to mention we discount greens fees that are included in a tourney entry fee). So right away we're sacrificing some of our potential revenue for the day.

Basically, tournaments are loss-leaders. We run them knowing we're losing out on some revenue for the day but view it as advertising for the course. Players that don't frequent the course tend to visit more often in the days/weeks leading up to a tournament to prepare/practice. Players that have never been to the course play the tournament, enjoy the course, and are more likely to come back in the future (and bring friends).
You only make money on tourneys by giving out player packs and keeping the difference between the cost of the goods and the retail price.

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  #97  
Old 01-19-2022, 08:07 PM
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DavidSauls DavidSauls is offline
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Originally Posted by ballgolfconvert View Post
You only make money on tourneys by giving out player packs and keeping the difference between the cost of the goods and the retail price.
This is true, assuming the course gets discs at wholesale (which they should).

One limitation on tournaments is that you can only hold a limited number of them per year.
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  #98  
Old 01-19-2022, 08:21 PM
jjmiller jjmiller is offline
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Haven’t read the whole thread, so maybe this has been mentioned:

You have to pay to play golf and putt-putt because there are no free courses and you can’t feasibly mow your lawn that short to play at home. The only option is to go play where it costs money. As long as there are so many free disc golf course, which will probably be always, a majority of people(or at the minimum, a lot larger percentage of people compared to golf or putt-putt) will go play for free.

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  #99  
Old 01-20-2022, 02:35 AM
Gblambert Gblambert is offline
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My son owns and operates a successful P2P disc golf facility in a location surrounded by 50+ free courses. His traffic and profitability have been steadily increasing since he started up six years ago. Last year he was able increase his greens fees, membership fees, and camping fees with no backlash. Here are a few of the things that I think have helped in his success:

- With so many free courses in the area, he had to offer something that players can't get elsewhere. He operates two courses, one being an average length course with red, white and blues tee pads and the other a short par 2 putt putt course. Both courses and the facilities are squeezed onto a 25 acre tract. Amenities include a pro shop, event pavilion, kids playground, bocce court, pool table, campground, etc. The idea was to make the facility as family friendly as possible, with the courses designed to be fun for all ages and skill levels. Annual memberships are encouraged, so a regular crowd is always there, players get to know each other, and can count on finding someone to play with no matter when they show up. It has a ball golf country club feel to it, with several member/guest and member appreciation tournaments held each year to thank them for their support and to encourage friendships among members. Instead of players just playing a round or two and then leaving as most do at a free course, we like for players and their families to spend the whole day onsite, with something fun for everyone, not just the players.

- When we started out, the viability of the business was a question, so he and I spent 2+ years designing, clearing and constructing the courses, the hardscaping, irrigation system, the hazards on the putt putt course, etc ourselves. We rarely, if ever, pay for something that we could do or make ourselves. Operations are primarily a one man show, with my son maintaining the courses and facilities, doing the mowing, maintaining the tractor, mowers, and golf carts, running the pro shop, and holding tournaments, in addition to all of the tasks that any small business owner deals with. Now that the business is doing well, he's been able to hire some help manning the pro shop and with some of the weed eating chores.

- It was clear from the start that he needed more that green fees to succeed, so he put additional revenue streams in place including merchandise sales and rentals from the pro shop, camping fees, tournament fees, annual memberships and renewals, tee sign sponsorships, and an occasional wedding now and then. Future plans are for a series of air bnb tiny houses to be constructed in the campground area, which we expect to do well.

- And finally, location, location, location. We looked at a lot of great properties before finally buying a less spectacular tract in a rural area where the demographics were expected to improve. As it turns out, more people continue to move into the area every year, and future growth will be even better than we anticipated.

All the signs point toward continued growth in the future. I'm not sure if this model would work for anyone else, but I wanted to share some of our experience with others in case it could help other potential disc golf course owners trying to make a living in this very competitive business.

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  #100  
Old 01-20-2022, 11:19 AM
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Mando Mando is offline
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Originally Posted by Gblambert View Post
And finally, location, location, location. We looked at a lot of great properties before finally buying a less spectacular tract in a rural area where the demographics were expected to improve. As it turns out, more people continue to move into the area every year, and future growth will be even better than we anticipated.
That's the key. Being just outside a town with 60,000 and a short drive from New Braunfels (80,000) and Austin on the interstate.
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